Local teams prep for big meetsSt. Al headed to South State; VHS, WC going to North State

Published 11:30 am Friday, May 4, 2012

Maggie Waites is no longer just a one-event specialist.

The St. Aloysius freshman is a two-time state champion in Class 1A girls pole vault, but this season she has added more events such as the 100-meter dash, and some relays as well.

Last week at the Region 4-1A meet at Madison Central, Waites had to switch from her field speciality in the pole vault back to the track to run a 100-meter sprint, and then back to the pole vault.

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“That was pretty tough, but I got third place in the 100 and then cleared 11 feet in the pole vault,” Waites said. “I probably could have cleared 11-6 had I not had to do both at the same time.”

Waites also helped St. Al qualify in the 4×100 and 4×200 relays. That will give her four events at Saturday’s Class 1A South State meet at St. Andrew’s. Waites, however, would love to equal her career-best 11-6 in the pole vault.

“I got 11-6 last year at the AAU Junior Nationals,” Waites said. “It’s been a while since I’ve had a meet at St. Andrew’s, but I think I can get 11-6 there. My overall goal for the season is to get to 12 feet.”

Waites will be joined by several teammates as 11 qualified for the South State meet. The Lady Flashes have built on last year’s third-place showing in the team standings at the 1A state meet. St. Al won the

Mississippi College Invitational, was second at the Division 7-1A meet and placed third at the region meet behind powerhouses Hinds AHS and Sacred Heart. Freshman Alyssa Engel won the Region 4 long jump at 161⁄2 feet. She also qualified on St. Al’s 4 x 400 meter relay team. Another promising performer is Nicole Hayward who won the triple jump. Hayward joins Engel, Waites and Mary Kalusche on the 4×200 relay team and the 4×400 team.

Other South State qualifiers include: Tori Thomas (shot), McKay Gray (high jump) and Camille Bexley (300 hurdles, 4x 400 relay).

St. Al might have had a shot to contend for a state team title had eighth-grader Elizabeth Counts not gotten injured.

“Elizabeth suffered a stress fracture and that puts her out of the 800 and the mile run,” St. Al coach Keiko Booth said. “Until then, she had the third-fastest time in the mile in 1A and was headed to break six minutes.”

Vicksburg and Warren Central will head to Starkville for the 6A North State meet.

Vicksburg’s Terrell Smith is on track for four gold medals at next week’s state meet in Pearl. He won the 100- and 200-meter sprints at the Region 2-6A meet at Madison Central. He also qualified in the long jump and the Gators’ 4×100 meter relay team. Earlier this season at WC, Smith clocked one of the best times in the nation in the 100-meter sprint at 10.28. He followed up two weeks later at Pearl by setting a personal best in the 200-meter at 21.54. The time is a national elite mark, according to the ESPN/Dye Tech rankings.

Smith, the defending 6A champion in the 200-meter, hopes to have his best showing Saturday at Mississippi State. Vicksburg High will have a handful of girls running. Eighth-graders Tymesha Nabors and Keiyanna Gaskin will help the Missy Gators in the 4×200 relay. The pair, along with Chantilly Hall and DeShae Butler, won the event at the regional meet. Nabors also took the region’s 300 hurdles while Gaskin won the 200-meter dash. Jasmine Washington qualified for North State in the 100 hurdles.

The Warren Central girls have Creteshia Kelly in the triple jump and the boys’ 4×400 relay team.